Risks of Using Tampons

The Natural Beauty Well estimates the average woman will use 15,000 tampons during her lifetime, so it’s not surprising that more focus on the risks of tampons continues to surface. In addition to the recent Kotex tampons recall due to life-threatening infections, more is now becoming known about the synthetic fibers that make tampons and the chemicals used to bleach them.

For instance, its cotton can contain a number of pollutants since cotton farmers’ use one quarter of the world’s supply of pesticides. Many tampons also use rayon, which is a highly absorbent cellulose fiber made from wood pulp. Before it is added to a typical tampon, it is whitened with chlorinated bleach; dioxin is released as a byproduct of the bleaching process.

According to the EPA, people who are exposed to high levels of dioxins may be at risk for damage to the immune system, increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, and reduced fertility. Though women are not getting a huge dose of dioxins with each tampon, they are getting dosed repeatedly with low levels, which can cause tampon risks according to Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, author of The Uterine Crisis. The EPA has further said that there is no “acceptable” level of dioxin exposure for humans. A 2005 study by the FDA Office of Women’s Health found detectable levels of dioxin in seven brands of tampons.

Fibers Present the Highest Risks of Tampons


Every time a woman removes a tampon, fibers are left behind. The fibers left behind by a cotton/rayon tampon linger longer and, because of their increased absorbency, hold the dioxin against one’s vaginal wall for an increased period of time. Another problem is that women are opting to use overnight tampons in which tampon risks are even greater. Manufacturers are not helping the situation either. They have increased their absorbent density, by having ultra-absorbent tampons, which provide additional tampon risks for consumers.

Time for More Testing on Tampon Risks


In the 75 years that tampons have been on the market, the understanding of the risks of using tampons has improved, and yet not one independent test has been done. The tampons risk studies done to date have been by the tampon manufacturers themselves. Seeger Weiss advocates for more awareness and testing in this area. If you have suffered severely from tampon use, contact us.

Seeger Weiss LLP

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